Acidity, Alkalinity of Food
This article is in continuation to my article on What is a Balanced Diet. If we keep eating ‘healthy’ food all time then there will come a situation when there will be imbalance and hypersensitivity in our body. As in our body will start to throw up on eating street food. It will develop allergies from normal tap water etc
Our body needs balance, which does not mean that it needs to eat all types of food in equal proportions but which means that it needs to have all types of foods in some proportions. To understand that better let us first understand the concept of acidity and alkalinity. To understand this concept, we need to brush up little part of the chemistry that we studied in school
We know of hydrogen atom. It has one electron and one proton. When the electron leaves it then it becomes an ion(as shown in the image above). An ion which is hungry for electrons….
So when any fluid has a lot of hydrogen ions, then it becomes acidic and corrosive. It will try to “eat” the electrons of other substances.
A fluid which has hyroxyl Ions (shown in the image above) is basic or alkaline in nature. As opposed to hydrogen ions, these hydroxy ions carry excess electron and look forward to donate it. When these ions meet hydrogen ions then they neutralize to form water.
How is all of this jargon relevant to our bodies? Immensely so.The amount of these ions in our blood plasma determines the level of acidity or alkalinity of our body. Our blood may become corrosive or donating depending on the presence of these ions. The aid and alkalinity of any fluid is measured on the pH scale.
The pH of a neutral fluid like water is 7. Greater than 7 means the fluid is alkaline and less than 7 means the fluid is acidic. Distilled water which is a neutral solutions has a pH of 7. The pH of our blood plasma should stay between 7.35 to 7.45 else it may get fatal for us. This pH value indicates that our body survives on alkaline condition. Acidic condition is a very poor state of existence.
Now let us correlate this pH thing with food and body. Foods are classified as either acid forming or alkalizing according to the effect they have on the body, not according to their own instrinsic acidity or alkalinity. Thus, many foods that taste acidic (grapes, lemon juice and citrus fruits, for example) leave alkalizing residue upon being metabolized.
Now we all know from school chemistry that minerals and salts like sodium, postassium, calcium, magnesium, iron etc behave as alkalies (bases) in solution hence they are very good at buffering the effects of acids. So when we eat acid forming foods like sugar, artificial sweeteners, starches, grains, flour, fats, animal proteins etc then these acids as I wrote earlier are hungry and corrosive so in order to neutralize themselves they draw out minerals(bases) out of the body’s own tissues, thereby creating a state of demineralization. This can lead to a state of nervousness, emotional imbalances, dental problems, broken nails etc..
Now you know hair fall can be caused by eating a lot of acid forming foods as well.. A note for those who eat animal proteins to check hair fall and chipping nails. They need to balance the acid formed from animal proteins with alkalizing food like potatoes etc Otherwise the acidic residue left by high animal protein diet can cause demineralization and hence more hair falls or chipped nails. This is the reason dietician suggests whey or other human absorbable proteins as supplements when there is a deficiency of proteins.
Other thing.. Ever thought why do we put butter on bread? and cream in coffee? or eat fruits with yoghurt? They are acidic and alkaline combinations
Also we have more tendency to get acidic. This is because a lot of common foods that we eat like sugars, breads, meats etc are acidic in nature or also because most of us like to follow extreme diets like high proteins(acidic), low carbs, high fats diets etc, which are highly imbalanced and hence generate acid.
When we are acidic we wake up with sour or acidic tongue in the morning and we have a craving for alkaline things like coffee or orange juice. These goes the reason for our cravings for coffee or orange juice in the morning Similarly, when we eat only fruits and vegetables then there could be so much alkalizing food in the system hence our body itself goes for a cookie or ice cream craving to reach the balance. What a computer our body is!
There is one more thing I want to share that when we exercise then due to the movement of muscles and oxidation of proteins there is a formation of lactic acid in our bodies. Now this is acidic and this is the reason, we are asked to take rest after workout so that this extra acid formed breaks down into water and carbon dioxide to be eliminated. Otherwise there will be post workout soreness, tiredness and no results.
This acid is also used for digestion as hydrochloric acid (This is the reason no fitness trainer will ask you to go for a workout after meal esp dinner. They would rather ask you to have a meal after your workout and go for a simple stroll later
This is also the reason, I ask you to take deep breaths. As breaths are also alkalizing. It neutralizes the acids.
One more thing, this balancing is what each detox diet does. In a detox plan, they chart a diet full of mineral so that a lot of acid is neutralized and the blood pH improves towards alkalinity. Read more on detoxification HERE
This much for today. I will cover a few basic topics and then will discuss post and pre workout meals. I will try to be more regular..
Loads of Love